An Organization Dream Come True


I've looked longingly at photos of elementary classrooms for a while now.  My favorite was a class where every group of desks (table or pod) had a small bookcase to store all needed materials.  It seemed so efficient and independent-making for the kids.  Even though such bookcases are fairly inexpensive, it was a stretch for my budget.  (We're putting our third - yes, third!- child through college and money is just tight.)

With permission from my administrator, I put out the word to my parents in August.  Lo, and behold, I received 4 of the 5 I requested!   And, one was even assembled for me! 

We're learning to keep our materials neat and organized.   And, man, the kids can just access anything they want - I'm not always managing someone to go get stuff, then put it up!  Whoo hoo!  Love my parents and love my bookcases!

Do you have a super organization system?


 
Pat McFadyen
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Play and Learn: Divisibility Rocks!


     I enjoy teaching students the rules of divisibility each year.  They're foundational concepts and fantastic math tools.  However, I can't say my kidlets always love learning about it.  Well, thanks, to my teaching partner, Carren (also known as a Surf and Search HERO - she finds the best math resources ever!), we have a new tool in our tool belt: Divisibility Rocks, a super fun, super rich card game!

     The game requires a little preparation - copying sets of cards and answer sheets.  Once you have them, though, you'll play again and again.

     Simply put, you form teams of three students who have a deck of cards, an answer sheet, and a small pile of game pieces or "rocks".  Student 1 turns up a number card.  The "Answer Person" asks if the number is divisible by 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, and 10.  For every correct answer, Student 1 takes a "rock", a game piece.  Then, Student 2 turns up a card and goes through the same procedure.   If a student believes an incorrect answer has been given, he/she can challenge.

     I allowed my students to use their Rules of Divisibility sheets for reference.  See them play below.  You can see the "rocks", the cards, the answer sheet, and pink reference sheets.

Check out this great game at the link below and tell me how you like it!  Thanks again, Carren!
 
Divisibility Rocks!
Pat McFadyen
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Mastering Powers of 10: 5.NBT.2


     Wow!  One of the most challenging new standards in the Common Core Curriculum is teaching the powers of 10, how they relate, and how we can use them.   There is very little out there to teach basic, foundational concepts.  It's taken me since last year to get my thoughts (and act) together, but I finally have posted my unit on "Mastering Powers of 10: Practice and Content  5.NBT.2)

     I've never had success just teaching students the algorithm (move the decimal over...do the decimal dance) without helping them "see" what's actually going on.  As usual, I learned so much content myself!  I added a couple of charts that help students see the "power of powers" and it seems to make a difference with my kids.

     Check out my newest product on Teachers Pay Teachers http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Mastering-Powers-of-10-Content-and-Practice-5NBT2-865079

     Let me know what you think!

Pat McFadyen
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This Year's Attendance/Lunch Chart!



     You win some, you lose some.  Last year's attendance/lunch chart was just sort of OK.   I took jumbo craft sticks, hot glued small magnets to the back, and wrote a name on each one.  Students placed their stick under the appropriate lunch choice on the filing cabinet I set up for that purpose, which also did an automatic attendance count for me.  The problems were that the sticks fell off very, very easily and the magnets came off easily.  So much for experience.


     This year, I found larger sheets of magnets, like the size of large sticky notes.  I believe you can even find 8 1/2" x 11" sheets.  I cut them into 2" x 3" magnets, typed student names on paper, removed the protective paper, and applied the names to the sticky side.  I only got one chance - once the paper is on, it's on!


     So far, the new magnets are working great!  I'm really delighted with this easy fix to an annoying problem.  I'm sure the kids will love to keep their magnet at the end of the year for a souvenir.  I'll keep an eye out for good prices on large sheets of magnets for next year.

     What management system is working for you this year?
Pat McFadyen
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